To be trauma-informed is more than just receiving a training. Trauma-informed and trauma-sensitive schools are ones in which all levels of school staff can recognize trauma responses and appropriately respond to students who have experienced trauma. By engaging in screening as part of a school responder model, schools can equip themselves with a mechanism for identifying students who may have experienced Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) or other trauma exposures. By engaging in trauma-informed practices and creating a trauma-sensitive school, policies and procedures can be modified and designed in ways that support, rather than punish, students with trauma histories in response to, or even before, any challenging classroom behaviors are experienced.
By keeping students with behavioral health conditions in school with staff who are trauma-sensitive and can offer appropriate supportive environments, these students are better served and cared for in the school environment. By making the necessary referrals to culturally relevant and accessible community supports, schools can help students receive much-needed services and reduce juvenile justice system involvement.